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Harvey Bullock (character)

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Harvey Bullock
Harvey Bullock as depicted in The Other History of the DC Universe #4 (May 2021).
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearance
  • As Lieutenant Bullock:
  • Detective Comics #441 (June 1974)
  • As Detective Harvey Bullock:
  • Batman #361 (July 1983)
Created by
In-story information
Full nameHarvey Bullock
Team affiliationsGCPD
Supporting character ofBatman
AbilitiesTrained detective

Harvey Bullock (/ˈbʊlək/) is a fictional detective appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with the superhero Batman.[1] The character first appeared in Detective Comics #441 (June 1974) and was created by Archie Goodwin and Howard Chaykin.[2] In animation, he appeared throughout the DC Animated Universe, voiced by Robert Costanzo. He debuted in live-action in 2014 on Fox's television series Gotham, portrayed by Donal Logue.

Publication history[edit]

There is some ambiguity concerning the character's origins. Writer Doug Moench and artist Don Newton introduced Harvey Bullock in Batman #361 (July 1983) as a device to resolve the ongoing plotline with Gotham City's corrupt mayor Hamilton Hill, and subsequent Who's Who in the DC Universe entries acknowledged this as the new Bullock's first appearance.[3] However, in later years Batman fans began pointing out that a "Lt. Bullock" appeared in three panels of Detective Comics #441 (1974), written by Archie Goodwin, pencilled by Howard Chaykin, and published almost a decade before. Moench admitted that he must have read this comic because he is an Archie Goodwin fan, but denied that Harvey Bullock is the same character. He argued that it is unlikely that he drew on Goodwin's Lt. Bullock even unconsciously, since there are discrepancies of both personality and continuity between his character and Goodwin's, and he distinctly remembers taking the name "Bullock" from guitarist Hiram Bullock.[3] Archie Goodwin is legally Harvey Bullock's sole creator; Moench said he decided not to contest this because he did not want to make a case against Goodwin's widow Anne Goodwin, whom he considers a friend.[3]

Following the conclusion of the Hamilton Hill storyline, Moench decided he enjoyed writing Harvey Bullock enough to keep him on as a supporting character, which necessitated some softening of his original characterization as a corrupt cop.[3] Bullock was one of several Batman supporting cast members swept out of the Batman family of titles when Denny O'Neil became the Batman editor in 1986, but in 1987 writer Paul Kupperberg brought him into the Vigilante cast. Kupperberg recalled, "Harvey Bullock was a character very much in my wheelhouse, a wise-cracking loudmouth with a Brooklyn accent and a problem with authority, although he wasn't originally intended to be a permanent member of the Vigilante cast. He was brought in for a guest-shot, as a character to help Vigilante's handler, Harry Stein, grease the wheels in Gotham City for them on whatever case they were on. I had fun writing him, and the interaction between Harvey and Harry Stein, another slob with his own way of doing things, clicked. I don't think they were using him much, if at all, in the Batman books by then, so we got permission from the Bat-office to have the character on semi-permanent loan for Vigilante and its successor title, Checkmate."[3]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Prior to the 1985–1986 DC maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths, Bullock was a crooked police detective under instructions from Gotham City's Mayor Hamilton Hill to sabotage Commissioner Gordon's career[1] when he is formally re-introduced in Batman #361 (July 1983), in the story entitled "The Most Successful Species", written by Doug Moench and penciled by Don Newton. His method of doing so was to pretend to be exceedingly clumsy, thereby spoiling whatever Gordon was trying to do, seemingly accidentally. After inadvertently giving Gordon a heart attack, however, Bullock turns over a new leaf.[4] His character later develops into a well-meaning cop who (probably) was exceedingly clumsy, similar to the later animated version. He also forms a close bond with Robin, based initially on their mutual love of old movies. Subsequent to this, he is a Bishop in the spy organization Checkmate.


Following the continuity changes brought about in most of DC's comics by Crisis, Bullock is perhaps the most controversial police officer in the Gotham City Police Department. His colleagues in the Major Crimes Unit swear up and down that he is a good cop, despite his reputation for taking bribes,[5] using excessive force, and having ties to organized crime. He is not without endearing qualities, however, including a fondness for doughnuts and a hidden sentimental streak. He also has a brief relationship with a widow he meets at work.[6]

This new post-Crisis Bullock was retconned as having been loyal to Gordon from the start. Even before he is promoted to detective, he stays by Gordon during one of the Joker's rampages, saving his life. Eventually, without Batman's assistance, Bullock and Gordon stop the Joker from causing an explosion that would have leveled Gotham City. During the entire case, Bullock plays the part of the "bad cop," intimidating and threatening whoever gets in his way. At this point, Bullock still wears a regular police uniform.

Made detective[edit]

Several years later, Bullock is made detective. He again works closely with Gordon, as part of a small crew of people Gordon knows he can trust. This group includes Maggie Sawyer, Harvey Dent, and Detective Cohen as they try to bring down Sal Maroni. Though Gordon knows of and has recordings of Bullock's brutality against suspects, he brings him in because the man has never accepted bribes. The events surrounding this squad work around the events of Batman: The Long Halloween. Bullock and the group are then joined by Crispus Allen, and together they take down a gathering of Gotham's "freaks", such as the Joker, Clayface and Scarecrow.[7] Later Bullock is partnered with Renee Montoya and they both become very loyal to each other. For a time Bullock works with the international spy agency Checkmate.[8] They confront threats ranging from counterfeiters to cult-terrorists. He has a rocky relationship with those above him, such as defying intelligence expert Amanda Waller over the proposed murder of heroic vigilante Black Thorn.[9]

Bullock also gained his own story arc, "A Bullet for Bullock" by Chuck Dixon. The story is about someone trying to kill him, which was also adapted into an episode for Batman: The Animated Series.

Bullock is on the front lines during the "Knightfall" storyline when Arkham empties and its inmates riot through the streets. Bullock takes control when Riddler takes an entire talk show hostage.[10] He is almost obliterated by a bomb planted in the mayor's mansion; he is saved at the last second by Batman.[11]

During the "Trioka" arc, Bullock is badly injured during a confrontation with the KGBeast, who has gained control of a small nuclear weapon. Robin and several members of the Gotham City Police Department brave a burning chemical plant, partly to save his life. Bullock almost dies during this incident, but is saved by CPR administered by Robin. Mackenzie "Hardback" Bock, a newcomer to the force, becomes involved, helping Robin carry Harvey out of harm's way. The nuclear bomb is then neutralized by Batman.


In the Batman: Cataclysm storyline, Bullock is confronting Anarky in a shopping mall when an earthquake hits Gotham City. Both save their own lives by diving into a hollow art structure. Despite this, Bullock's arm is impaled by a tube of metal. He does not let this stop him, and makes his way back to the badly damaged police headquarters.

As soon as he learns Gordon is missing, he slams his arm against a wall, knocking out the bar, and institutes a search. Bullock finds and saves a rattled Gordon from the debris of his own office.[12]

A few weeks later, Gotham is shut down and closed off by the government in the incident known as No Man's Land. Bullock and several other officers, Renee included, willingly stay behind to assist Gordon. Bullock sticks by Gordon through the death of many fellow officers. When SWAT leader Billy Pettit revolts and takes even more officers with him, Bullock sticks with Gordon. Renee herself is even lost for a while due to Two-Face. In the end, efforts led by Lex Luthor re-open Gotham. Gordon, Bullock, Renee and the remaining officers (Pettit and the others had been killed) are given their jobs back. Bullock is then promoted to lieutenant and becomes the shift commander of the GCPD's Major Crimes Unit.[13]

In the "Officer Down" storyline, disgruntled former officer Jordan Rich attempts to kill Gordon. Afterwards, a vengeful Bullock reveals Rich's location to the Mafia, thereby indirectly killing the shooter. When evidence of this comes out, he resigns from the force.[14]

He then appears in the "Unresolved" story arc in Gotham Central, where he has descended into a life of alcoholism and is shown contemplating suicide.

Back on the force[edit]

As part of DC's "One Year Later" storyline, Bullock has returned to the GCPD, with the understanding that he is not allowed a single mistake. The circumstances behind this are unknown, the only clue so far being the line: "Six months since Harvey Bullock made his discoveries." Batman and Bullock have made their peace, agreeing to give each other a second chance after their past disagreements; Batman tells Bullock that he considers the ledger "erased".[1]

Bullock is seen as one of the leads against the fight of a war between unauthorized Joker and Batman gangs.[15]

Later it is established he keeps in regular communication with his mother and has two cats, one of which, Sprinkles, has cancer.[16]

While little has ever been told of Harvey's past prior to him joining the Gotham City Police Department, he himself has stated that he was once a welterweight Golden Gloves competitor and was good enough to go pro, but chose not to because he disliked the "regimented lifestyle".[17]

The New 52[edit]

Bullock is sent to meet and greet Jason Bard, whom Gordon has recruited for the police force. Bullock is shown to be on friendly terms with Maggie Sawyer. Hours later, Bard arrests James Gordon for manslaughter after a train crash.[18]

During the investigation into a long-running series of police murders, Bullock is kidnapped and replaced by a female killer known as Jane Doe. Jane is obsessed with the figurative and literal taking of other people's lives. That it was only Batman who noticed Bullock had been replaced causes the detective great distress.[19]

Harvey assists in citywide riots by helping James Gordon, now exonerated thanks to Batgirl, wire the entire city to display the Bat-signal. This raises the morale of the citizens and calms much of the panic.[20]

DC Rebirth[edit]

In the DC Rebirth reboot universe, Bullock is partnered with Commissioner Gordon when he attempts to raid Wayne Manor. Bullock tries to convince Gordon not to go through with it, but is unable to.[21] Bullock goes on to cameo several times, usually alongside Gordon [22] In the alternate future where Tim Drake becomes the Batman, Bullock is seen as an aid to Commissioner Montoya in the old section of the city.[23] In the aftermath of the city of Bane. Harvey Bullock is filling as commissioner of Gotham City Police department after Jim Gordon who disappeared after being infected by a virus from the Batman Who Laughs.

Other versions[edit]

  • An alternate universe version of Harvey Bullock appears in the Flashpoint storyline.[24]
  • A younger, alternate universe version of Harvey Bullock appears in Batman: Earth One. This version is the former star of the reality show Hollywood Detectives.[25][26]
  • The Earth-3 counterpart of Harvey Bullock is a servant of Owlman.[27] In the "Infinite Frontier" reboot, Harvey Bullock was the one who killed Thomas, Martha and Bruce Wayne while Thomas Wayne Jr. survives and eventually becomes Owlman.[28]

JLA: The Nail[edit]

In the Elseworlds series JLA: The Nail, Bullock is shown to be Gotham's Commissioner of Police. (Reference is made to Gordon having been murdered, but nothing specific is known about his death.) Bullock is even shown defending Batman against reporters in one panel, an opposite of mainstream Bullock.[29]

Whom Gods Destroy[edit]

In this universe, Bullock and Montoya are two Secret Service agents assigned to Presidential detail.[30]

Batman '89[edit]

Bullock is set to appear alongside Commissioner Gordon in the Batman '89 comic book series, a canonical comic continuation of Tim Burton's Batman films, with screenwriter Sam Hamm returning to write the script with Joe Quinones providing the comic's art. Bullock was initially included in Hamm's original script for Batman Returns, but the character was eventually discarded.

In other media[edit]



Donal Logue portrays the character in his first live-action appearance.
  • Harvey Bullock appears in Gotham, portrayed by Donal Logue.[31] This version is Jim Gordon's partner, who introduces him to Gotham's seedy underbelly. He is portrayed as willing to bend - and sometimes break - the law to get results. He has ties to organized crime bosses Carmine Falcone and Fish Mooney, with whom he trades police favors in exchange for information. It is revealed that the GCPD's corrupt commissioner, Gillian B. Loeb, is blackmailing him; years earlier, Bullock's sergeant had coerced him into killing a mobster as a favor for the Falcone Crime Family, and Loeb uses that information to bend Bullock to his will. Gordon eventually blackmails Loeb into giving him Bullock's file.[32] In the second season, Bullock quits the police force after Loeb demotes him, stops drinking, and becomes a bartender.[33] In the following episode, however, he returns to the force after the Maniax gang surfaces in Gotham.[34] When Gordon is framed for murder by Edward Nygma, Bullock helps him escape from Blackgate Penitentiary with Carmine Falcone's help and clear his name. At the end of the second season, he is appointed as acting captain of the GCPD.[35] In the third season, GCPD Captain Nathaniel Barnes is put in Arkham after exposure to Jervis Tetch's sister's blood turns him into a murderous vigilante; Bullock is made acting captain again in his absence.[36] In the fourth season, Gordon discovers that Bullock is on Oswald Cobblepot's payroll due to his debts and relieves him of his duties after Gordon becomes the new Captain. In the fifth season, Bullock remains in Gotham despite the U.S. government declaring the city a No Man's Land after its bridges and power plant are destroyed. Bullock aids Gordon and the GCPD by reclaiming the city from super villains and gangs. After the city rejoins the United States, he attends Gordon's promotion ceremony to GCPD Commissioner.


  • Detective Harvey Bullock appears in series set in the DC Animated Universe (DCAU), voiced by Robert Costanzo.[37]
    • Bullock appears in Batman: The Animated Series. This version is not shown to drink or smoke, and has a penchant for doughnuts and coffee in line with police stereotypes. Additionally, he initially distrusts Batman before later developing a grudging respect for him, and often uses dubious means to ensure that justice is served.
    • Bullock appears in The New Batman Adventures.
    • Bullock makes guest appearances in the Superman: The Animated Series episodes "World's Finest" and "Knight Time".
    • Bullock appears in the Static Shock episode "Hard as Nails".
  • Harvey Bullock makes a non-speaking appearance in the Young Justice episode "Triptych".[38]


Video games[edit]


  • Harvey Bullock appears in the radio adaptation of Batman: Knightfall, voiced by Eric Meyers.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Wallace, Dan (2008), "Sgt. Bullock", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London: Dorling Kindersley, p. 63, ISBN 978-0-7566-4119-1
  2. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. pp. 68–69. ISBN 9780345501066.
  3. ^ a b c d e Wells, John (September 2016). "Bullies and Blowhards of the DC Bronze Age". Back Issue! (91). Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing: 19–22.
  4. ^ Batman #364, and Detective Comics #531-532 (both 1983)
  5. ^ Robert Greenberger. (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Random House. ISBN 9780345501066.
  6. ^ Batman #397 (July, 1986)
  7. ^ Two Face: Year One #1-2 (September–October 2008)
  8. ^ Checkmate #1 (April 1988)
  9. ^ Checkmate #8 (November 1988)
  10. ^ Detective Comics #662 (June 1993)
  11. ^ Batman #496 (July 1993)
  12. ^ Batman #553 (April 1998)
  13. ^ Detective Comics #742 (March 2000)
  14. ^ Detective Comics #762 (November 2001)
  15. ^ Detective Comics #867-870 (September–December 2010)
  16. ^ Detective Comics (vol. 2) #32 (June 2014)
  17. ^ Detective Comics (vol. 2) #33 (July 2014)
  18. ^ Batman Eternal #1 (June 2014)
  19. ^ Detective Comics (vol. 2) #18-22 (May–September 2013)
  20. ^ Batman Eternal #52 (April 2015)
  21. ^ All-Star Batman #2
  22. ^ Detective Comics, Batman #6
  23. ^ Batwoman #6
  24. ^ Flashpoint: Batman - Knight of Vengeance #2 (July 2011). Marvel Comics.
  25. ^ Batman: Earth One (July 2012)
  26. ^ Batman: Earth One Volume Two (May 2015)
  27. ^ Justice League (vol. 2) #23.4 (November 2013) DC Comics.
  28. ^ Crime Syndicate #2. DC Comics.
  29. ^ JLA: The Nail #1 (August 1998). DC Comics.
  30. ^ Whom Gods Destroy #3 (1997). DC Comics.
  31. ^ "'Terriers' star officially lands key 'Gotham' role". TV Guide. 2014-02-12. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  32. ^ "Everyone Has a Cobblepot". Gotham (TV series). Season 1. Episode 18. March 2, 2015. Fox.
  33. ^ "Damned If You Do...". Gotham (TV series). Season 2. Episode 1. September 21, 2015. Fox.
  34. ^ "Knock, Knock". Gotham (TV series). Season 2. Episode 1. September 29, 2015. Fox.
  35. ^ "Transference". Gotham (TV series). Season 2. Episode 22. May 23, 2016. Fox.
  36. ^ "The Executioner". Gotham (TV series). Season 3. Episode 9. November 14, 2016. Fox.
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Detective Harvey Bullock Voices (Batman)". Retrieved July 5, 2023. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of a title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its opening and/or closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  38. ^ Weisman, Greg (August 5, 2019). "Search Ask Greg: Gargoyles: Station Eight". www.s8.org. Retrieved July 6, 2024.
  39. ^ Batman 2 script by Sam Hamm
  40. ^ Clow, Chris (November 2, 2013). "Game Review: 'Batman: Arkham Origins,' Plus Collector's Edition Extras". web.archive.org. Retrieved July 6, 2024.
  41. ^ Eisen, Andrew (October 4, 2013). "DC Characters and Objects - Scribblenauts Unmasked Guide". IGN. Retrieved July 6, 2024.
  42. ^ Injustice: Gods Among Us Year 2. DC Comics.
Preceded by GCPD Major Crimes Unit Shift Commander
Succeeded by

External links[edit]